Vogtle Unit 3 Reaches 100% Energy Output for 1st Time

Tuesday, May 30th, 2023

Georgia Power announced Monday Vogtle Unit 3 has safely reached 100 percent power, marking a major milestone towards commercial operation and service for customers. This milestone marks the maximum energy the unit is licensed to produce in the reactor core and is the first time the unit has reached its expected output of approximately 1,100 electric MW, which can power an estimated 500,000 homes and businesses.

“Unit 3 is currently undergoing testing through the full range of plant operations, including safely running at various power levels and operating through real-life conditions just as it will over the next 60 to 80 years after the unit enters commercial operation,” said Kim Greene, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. “As we enter the final stages of startup testing, reaching 100 percent power for the first time is an exciting milestone. It tells us we’re close to finishing the unit safely and bringing it online to power Georgia homes and businesses with reliable, emissions-free energy for decades to come.”

In alignment with the testing performed throughout power ascension, testing at the 100 percent power level is focused on the operation of the reactor, plant control systems for the reactor and support systems, and integrated plant operations. Plant performance is monitored at various conditions and data is gathered and evaluated by site engineers. With the unit reaching full power for the first time, other tests must be performed at this power level before the unit is available for reliable dispatch in accordance with its combined operating license.

Once all startup testing is successfully completed and the unit is available for reliable dispatch, Vogtle Unit 3 will enter commercial operation. Unit 3 is projected to be placed in service during June 2023.

Other Recent Milestones Across Vogtle 3 & 4:

  • Receipt of Nuclear Fuel (Unit 4) – Vogtle Unit 4 began receiving nuclear fuel this month. A total of 157 fuel assemblies necessary for the safe and reliable startup of Unit 4 are currently arriving by truck in shipping cannisters designed to transport non-irradiated uranium fuel assemblies. Once delivered, assemblies are removed from the cannisters, one-by-one, and lifted into the fuel handling area, where they are inspected and safely stored in a fuel vault prior to fuel load, which is projected to occur later this year.
  • Completion of Hot Functional Testing (Unit 4) – Hot functional testing for Unit 4 was completed on May 1, 2022.  Read more.
  • Synchronization to the Grid (Unit 3) – In April, Vogtle Unit 3 generated electricity for the first time, and successfully synchronized and connected to the electric grid. Read more.
  • Initial Criticality (Unit 3) - In March, for the first time, operators safely started the nuclear reaction inside the reactor, resulting in atoms being split and nuclear heat being produced, which is used to produce steam. Read more.

The new Vogtle units are an essential part of Georgia Power's commitment to delivering clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy to its 2.7 million customers. Once operating, the two new units will be clean energy sources that produce zero emissions. Southern Nuclear will operate the new units on behalf of the co-owners: Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities.